The Argument from Anti-Religious Experience


Here's yet another argument to add to the list. It will take some work to flesh it out properly, but the basic idea is this. Many people have experiences that trigger the belief that reality is a cold and uncaring place, indifferent to their welfare. Such belief-triggering experiences are surprising on theism, since on that hypothesis, we'd expect God to design our cognitive faculties in such a way as to reliably trigger true beliefs about reality, according to which (on that hypothesis) reality is not a cold and uncaring place that is indifferent to our welfare. By contrast, such belief-triggering experiences are not surprising on naturalism, since on that hypothesis, reality really is a cold and uncaring place that is indifferent to our welfare. Therefore, the existence and pervasiveness of anti-religious experience provides at least some confirming evidence for naturalism vis-a-vis theism.

Update: I've been reminded that a version of this sort of argument has been carefully developed and defended by Sarah Adams and John Robson in their excellent paper, "Does absence make atheistic belief grow stronger?", International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 79 (2016), pp. 49-69. Thanks to Kaspian for the reminder.

Craig and Wielenberg's New Book on God and Morality

William Lane Craig and Erik Wielenberg's book, A Debate on God and Morality (ed. Adam Lloyd Johnson) is now out. A helpful review of the book can be found here.

Schellenberg's New Book on Monotheism and the Rise of Science

J.L. Schellenberg's new book, Monotheism and the Rise of Science, is the latest in the Cambridge Elements in Religion and Monotheism series, and downloads are free until December 7th! Here's the book's description to whet your appetite:

This Element traces the effects of science's rise on the cultural status of monotheism. Starting in the past, it shows how monotheism contributed to science's rise, and how, returning the favour, science provided aid and support, until fairly recently, for the continuing success of monotheism in the west. Turning to the present, the Element explores reasons for supposing that explanatorily, and even on an existential level, science is taking over monotheism's traditional roles in western culture. These reasons are found to be less powerful than is commonly supposed, though the existential challenge can be made effective when framed in an unusual and indirect manner. Finally, the Element considers how the relationship between science's high standing and the status of monotheism might appear in the future. Could something like monotheism rise again, and might science help it do so? The Element concludes that an affirmative answer is possible.

William Wainwright Has Passed

 More sad news. Details here.

Ben Arbour Has Passed

 I am saddened to announce that Ben Arbour recently passed in a tragic car accident, along with his wife. They are survived by their four children. They will be missed.

Further details here. A GoFundMe sight has been created on behalf of their surviving children. Please consider donating.

Review of Ekstrom's <i>God, Suffering, and the Value of Free Will</i>

  Kevin Timpe reviews the book for NDPR .